Tuesday, October 19, 2010

SJA Checklist: The Vault of Secrets

Crowds of People Under Alien Influence: There are at least five people who individually come under alien influence, so it's kind of a strung-out extended crowd.

Tie-in with Doctor Who (and, not incidentally, Faction Paradox) story
: Part of Sarah Jane's job involves preventing NASA from finding Osirian pyramids on Mars. Though the story itself is also ripped off from "City of Death" mixed with "Dreamland," taking in a couple of homages to the Auton stories, "The Hand of Fear" and "The Robots of Death" along the way.

Rani's Mum is Annoying/Is Absent: The former, and in spades, as she joins a UFOlogist conspiracy theory group, drags her husband along, and drives her marriage that little bit closer to the edge.

Luke/K9 Cameo: Luke, like every undergraduate on the planet, is keeping in touch with Mum via Skype, but the mutt is conspicuous by its absence.

Sarah Jane Waxes Maudlin: She gets a good maudlin moment in episode 2 when going on about how alone Androvax must feel, what with his civilization destroyed and all.

Mobile Phone as Plot Device: No; amazingly, that's four episodes now that this team of mobile addicts have managed to keep their hands off their Blackberries. Unless the fact that Mr Dread is an Android is some kind of laboured pun.

"Maximum [something]!": No, the script team are clearly onto this blog :).

Racism Towards Aliens: Sarah Jane actually concedes for once that just because Androvax is a criminal, it doesn't mean everyone in his species is, though Clive does keep up a sustained background chorus on the general untrustworthiness of aliens.

The Crimes of Sarah Jane: Breaking and entering (St Jude's); damage to private property (Minty's scanner, Mr Dread's Humber Super Snipe).

Sonic Lipstick: Correct and present, from episode one.

Wristwatch Scanner: Correct and present, five seconds before the sonic lipstick.

One or More of Sarah's Companions Falling Under Alien Influence: Rani, Clive and Sarah all play host to Androvax at various points. So does Rani's Mum, if she counts.

Sarah And/Or Companion Acts like a Selfish Cow: While it's understandable that Sarah Jane wouldn't want the Veil civilization revived at the cost of Earth, it's rather callous that she doesn't even entertain the notion that this is a tiny bit speciesist of her. Clive and Rani, meanwhile, put on their biggest teenage pouts while whining at Mr Dread to save the Earth so that humanity can carry on destroying its own planet in an excess of consumerism (and they don't seem in the slightest bit sorry that it costs him his life). SJA may throw up the odd moral complexity once in a while, but you wouldn't know it from the way its protagonists act.

And in other news, Colditz is being repeated on the Yesterday channel at the end of the month. Between this and Secret Army on Alibi, it's all Chrisopher Neame, all the time.